Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: Musical fights

Trans-National Musical Exchange

Musical fight!   Compare the opening sequence of these two songs, and note how the second one (from 1972) closely mirrors the first one released the year before: “Music for Gong Gong” [1971]  – vs. – “Horns of Paradise” [1972] “Music for Gong Gong” was selected as the A-side of the

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"19th Nervous Breakdown"
Zeroto180

Rolling Stones Soundalike LPs

In the inevitable Beatles vs. Stones (straw man) debate, I intensely resent having to pick sides, since the very idea of one without the other is laughable at best.  Nevertheless, this lifelong Beatles fan takes a certain fiendish thrill in devoting an entire blog post to those albums in which

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Van Morrison’s 1969 Pop Reggae

All these years I’ve naively assumed “I Shall Sing” to be a Judy Mowatt early reggae original (and 1974 Jamaican chart-topper, according to this Los Angeles Times piece from 1986).  And yet that same Times piece makes clear, Judy Mowatt was taking her musical inspiration from Miriam Makeba (not Art

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Lee Hazlewood vs. Don Nix: ’73

I discovered another musical coincidence recently — two albums with similarly-constructed titles released the same year by two hip and influential songwriter-producer-arrangers:  Poet, Fool or Bum by Lee Hazlewood -vs.- Hobos, Heroes & Street Corner Clowns by Don Nix, both from 1973. On his one and only album for Capitol,

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David Allan Coe’s Trucker Tune

David Allan Coe, intriguingly, merits four full paragraphs in Neil A. Hamilton’s history of The 1970s: “Born in Ohio, Coe spent part of his youth in reform school and, in the 1960s, served time in the Ohio State Penitentiary.  Here was a man to whom the term outlaw meant more

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"It's a Super-Spectacular Day!"
Zeroto180

Mad Mag’s Multi-Groove Flexi-disc

Remember the Las Vegas Roulette record* with the “multi-groove” in which the tonearm stylus randomly selects (at least, in theory) one of 38 separate grooves – one for each slot on the roulette wheel – so as to allow partygoers the ability to play roulette from the comfort of home?  

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"Honky Tonk"
Zeroto180

Best-Sellers vs. Worst-Sellers

As I was finalizing my recent Bill Doggett piece, I was trying to confirm the “four million” sales figure that is so often attributed (Wikipedia) to his 1956 smash hit, “Honky Tonk” – an extraordinary number for an instrumental, especially in the mid-50s.  Ultimately, I was  impelled to wield the

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"Guns Fever"
Zeroto180

‘Sticky’: “Guns Fever” Vocalist?

Thanks to Harry Hawks‘ biographical portrait of master percussionist (& sometime vocalist) Uzziah ‘Sticky‘ Thompson for Reggae Collector’s Artists Hall of Fame, we learn that (1) ‘Sticky’ gets a shout-out in the intro to Baba Brooks’ “Girls Town Ska” from 1965 [Q: “Hey Sticks, where you going tonight?”  A: “I’m

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The Duel: Organ vs. Sax

In the early part of this century, reissue label, Hip-O, put out a comprehensive series of James Brown single releases that were issued from 1956-1981.  Historians & researchers will no doubt be studying these liner notes in decades to come as they try to organize and make sense of the

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“Stomp”: First Recording of a Clavinet?

Someone posted a short list of “clavinet-fueled songs” that, of course, included “Up on Cripple Creek” by The Band.  One commenter quibbled that the song should have been #1 on the list, “not only because it is better but because it was first” – but was it? The Clavinet is

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